Google+ YA Romantics: June 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Just Finished Reading … Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Review of Truly Madly Deadly
by Hannah Jayne
To be published on July 2, 2013
By Sourcebooks Fire

Source: e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. Please see my FTC disclosure on right sidebar.

Connect with the author: website | Twitter | Facebook.

Summary from Goodreads: Sawyer Dodd has it all. She's a star track athlete, choir soloist, and A-student. And her boyfriend is the handsome all-star Kevin Anderson. But behind the medals, prom pictures, and perfect smiles, Sawyer finds herself trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with Kevin. When he dies in a drunk-driving accident, Sawyer is secretly relieved. She's free. Until she opens her locker and finds a mysterious letter signed by "an admirer" and printed with two simple words: "You're welcome."

Buzzwords:  serial killer, secret admirer, guilty pleasure, Pretty Little Liars meets Lifetime TV.

My take: As a lifelong fan of mysteries, I appreciate all types -- the dark, twisted psychological thrillers, the grim police procedurals and even the tamer "cozies."  Truly, Madly, Deadly is a book that is to the mystery genre what one of those Lifetime TV "woman in jeopardy" movies is to television: a guilty pleasure that's also pretty entertaining.

If you like your mysteries on the literary or psychological side, then Truly, Madly, Deadly may not be the book for you. The characters and setting could have been much more developed. Sawyer, the protagonist, spends most of her time fainting, throwing up, or making out with a hot guy she's only just met. Sawyer also cries a lot, but not damsel-in-distress crying -- serious ugly-crying. Because I was reading on a Kindle with a search function, I can tell you that variations of the phrase "snot and tears" are used four times. Someone hand this poor girl a tissue!

The book's plot consists mostly of the Sawyer learning that someone close to her has died under mysterious circumstances or finding creepy, threatening notes. I guessed the identity of the killer pretty easily. The story does touch on some serious issues -- bullying, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, class differences, suicide -- but not in any kind of serious way. Truly, Madly, Deadly is clearly not trying to be an "issue book."

But Truly, Madly, Deadly does offer up some very funny dialogue, a fair amount of suspense, and a creepy, campy premise: a hapless protagonist with a mysterious and possibly crazy secret admirer. If you love that kind of thing, then I think you'll find Truly, Madly, Deadly to be a fun, fast-paced summer read.

Extra! Extra! 52

Extra! Extra!

Extra! Extra! is my weekend post featuring brand new additions to my TBR pile as well as a summary of what's new on the blog.

I'm linking to Stacking the Shelves @ Tynga's Reviews and to Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 

Stacking the Shelves pic name

Giveaways!
It's the last few days to enter the June Hot Off the Presses Giveaway! Win a book of your choice up to $15 USD. 

Freebie Friday -- we're back to the big stack o'books format. Check out the choices and tell me what's on your summer TBR pile.


Reviews You Might Have Missed:
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West -- I love the 80s classic Pretty in Pink. Did this read alike measure up?

Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey -- did this Celtic-Gothic mash-up thrill me? 

Truly Madly Deadly by Hannah Jayne -- serial killer on the loose -- am I cheering or jeering?

New Books!

The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford (August 1, 2013, Scholastic)
I am such a huge fan of this author and am so excited about this book -- the main character is a teenager on study abroad in Russia in 1982.

Replica by Jenna Black (July 16, 2013, Tor Teen)
I enjoyed this author's Faeriewalker series and am interested to see what she does with a sci-fi premise.

More Than This by Patrick Ness (September 10, 2013, Candlewick)
I have never read the Chaos Walking series (I've been meaning to -- I swear) but I'm excited to try this!

Exciting Announcement!

Scared of what will happen when Google Reader rides off into the sunset on Monday?



Don't worry! Along with Candace from Candace's Book Blog and Jen from Starry Eyed Revue, I'm hosting a series of themed Summer Giveaway Hops.



Sign-ups for bloggers who want to host a stop on the hop will start Monday on all our blogs -- and the giveaway hops themselves will start July 22.

What's new with you? Tell me in comments, and leave me a link so I can visit you back :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Freebie Friday 49: Summer is Here!


Happy Friday!

Summer is here and I want to be sure you have enough to read…

So far, I haven't had much time to tackle my TBR pile. Things have been really busy, but I'm hoping that I can make more time soon.

Tell me … what's on your summer reading pile?

And just in case you need a few new things, here are the Freebie Friday offerings for today. The winner can choose any one of these:



The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen -- Sarah Dessen books are the perfect summer read!

This Is WAR by Laura and Lisa Roecker -- a tale of revenge set in a beach community. 
Releases on July 2nd.

Replica by Jenna Black -- I loved her Faeriewalker series -- this is a  YA sci-fi that releases July 16.

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross -- turn-of-the-century France, the marriage market, girl power. 
This one was a lot of fun to read!

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey -- do you feel like you're the only one who hasn't read this alien invasion book? I'm here to help….

Gated by Amy Christine Parker -- a gated community, an end-of-the-world prophecy…. 
this one releases on August 27.

International readers are welcome to enter! They will win any book that costs $10 USD or less from the Book Depository. US winner can choose this option as well.


This Freebie Friday has ended, but follow me to participate another week!

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Just Finished Reading … Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

Review of Ashes on the Waves
by Mary Lindsey
To be published on June 27, 2013
by Philomel/Penguin

Source: bought

Connect with the author: website | Facebook | Twitter.




Summary (from Goodreads:) Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever. With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make a wager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.
Buzzwords: Gothic romance, bean sidhes, selkies, Edgar Allan Poe.

My take:  Ashes on the Waves offers up a heady blend of Gothic atmosphere and Celtic lore, a romantic, brooding tale of a pair of tragic lovers that is also a clever expansion on the Poe poem Annabel Lee.

Liam has grown up as an outcast on the remote island of Dòchas. An accident at his birth killed his mother and left one of his arms useless, so the villagers call him a demon. As a child, he played with heiress Annabel Leighton, daughter of the owners of Taibhreamh, a gloomy mansion by the sea. When Annabel returns to the island, she and Liam fall in love. This is one part of the story that may aggravate those allergic to insta-love. Annabel and Liam's friendship as children is definitely used as a way to put their romance on serious fast-forward in the present. They're definitely an odd couple -- she's a hip queen of the supermarket tabloids, a rich-girl-behaving-badly, while he's quiet and unassuming, with a quaint, Old World quality to his mannerisms and speech.

For this story to work, the reader has to accept the fact that Liam and Anna are madly in love. But it's easy to root for them, because everyone is against their relationship: Anna's parents, her creepy housekeeper, her friends, most of the village, and many of  the weird paranormal creatures that lurk around the island -- Na Fir Ghorm, bean sidhes, and selkies.

There are other two main sources of tension in the plot: the mysterious disappearance of Annabel's uncle, and the fact that the Na Fir Ghorm and the bean sidhes make a wager about the strength of the couple's love and proceed to test them. But there's tons of other odd, atmospheric touches, like a selkie named Muireann -- an occasional POV character who pines for Liam from afar, the aforementioned creepy housekeeper (shades of Mrs. Danvers) and the backward, hardscrabble villagers.

Ashes on the Waves was a fun and original story that really kept me guessing. I'd read the poem and knew how it ended, but I was still surprised by many of the twists and turns the plot took. While I wouldn't call this a character-driven story, I would single out Liam as a unique and compelling character, the unlikeliest of dreamy book boys but one I think will appeal to a lot of readers. I found Annabel a little harder to get a grasp on.

If you love books that are brooding, tragic and romantic, you should definitely add Ashes on the Waves to your to-read list!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Going Rogue by Robin Benway



Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


This week I'm waiting on:


Going Rogue: An AKA Novel
by Robin Benway
To be published in January 2014
by Walker Children's Books



Okay, this is not the real cover, so don't get worried. Here's the (real) synopsis…

Being permanently based in a local New York City high school as an undercover operative has its moments, good and bad, for 16-year-old safecracker Maggie Silver. Pros: More quality time with her former mark-turned-boyfriend Jesse Oliver and insanely cool best friend, Roux. Getting to spend quality time with her semi-retired and international spy honorary uncle, Angelo. Cons: High school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. But when Maggie's parents are falsely accused of stealing priceless gold coins, Maggie uses her safecracking skills to try and clear their names. Too bad it only serves to bring the wrath of the now corrupt Collective down on all of them. Can Maggie and her "new team" defeat their former allies?

I really liked Also Known As -- you can read my review here -- so I'm excited to see what Maggie and the gang are up to next!

What book are you impatiently waiting for? Let me know in comments or leave me a link so I can check it out!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hot Off The Presses: New YA Releasing June 25-July 1

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!

Every Tuesday, I tell you about all the great new YA books you can grab in the week to come. If you're a reviewer, you can also link your blog or Goodreads reviews of any YA book publishing in June so we can all check them out!

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA -- if I missed something, please let me know in comments. You are welcome to link reviews of YA that was self-pubbed this month.
Last chance to enter for June! The winner of my June giveaway can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.) Enter by linking reviews, commenting on linked reviews, or tweeting :)
I didn't think this week had too many books, but I was wrong! And I've only read three of these…

Asterisked titles have a different international release date.

Weather Witch by Shannon Delany In the After by Demitria Lunetta Ink by Amanda Sun
*Weather Witch by Shannon Delaney (St Martin's Griffin)
In the After by Demitria Lunetta (Harper)
Ink by Amanda Sun (Harlequin)


Invisible by Marni Bates Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan Hidden by Marianne Curley
*Invisible by Marni Bates (KTeen)
Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan (Putnam)
*Hidden by Marianne Curley (Bloomsbury)


Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey Since You Asked by Maurene Goo Neptune's Tears by Susan Waggoner
Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey (Philomel)
Since You Asked by Maurene Goo (Scholastic)
*Neptune's Tears by Susan Waggoner (Henry Holt)


Ballistics by D. W. Wilson fml by Shaun David Hutchinson A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury
Ballistics by D. W. Wilson (Bloomsbury)
fml by Shaun David Hutchinson (Simon Pulse)
A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury (Atheneum)


Winterveil by Jenna Burtenshaw Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Robin Palmer Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne
*Winterveil by Jenna Burtenshaw (Greenwillow)
The Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Robin Palmer (Speak)
Truly Madly Deadly by Hannah Jayne (Sourcebooks)


Girl of His Dreams by Amir Abrams The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton Written in Stone by Rosanne Perry
*The Girl of His Dreams by Amir Abrams (KTeen)
The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton (Random House)
Written in Stone by Rosanne Parry (Random House)

Also releasing this week:

 *Forevermore by Cindy Miles (Scholastic/Point)
Fallen Prince (Keepers of Life #2) by Shea Berkley (Entangled)


  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 24, 2013

Just Finished Reading … The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

The Distance Between Us
by Kasie West
To be published by HarperTeen
on July 2, 2013

Source: borrowed an ARC through Around the World ARC Tours. Please see my complete FTC disclosure on right sidebar.

Connect with the author: website : Twitter.




Summary (from Goodreads:) Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop. So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company. She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

My take: When I see a book pitched as Pretty in Pink meets Pride and Prejudice, by the author of Pivot Point ... how can I resist?

The Distance Between Us was a charming, funny book and I could definitely see the parallels with those two much-loved stories of spirited girls in love with rich guys.

Caymen Meyers works at her mother's doll shop, which I thought was hilarious. And creepy. I loved that the book also takes advantage of every opportunity to explore women's weird relationships with dolls.  Caymen meets cute with Xander and soon realizes that he's rich. Not just garden variety rich, but private plane rich, tycoon rich, never-have-to-work-your-whole-life rich. Caymen likes Xander, but she soon realizes she can't fit into his world, and isn't sure she even wants to.

Often in rich boy/poor girl romances, the guy says that he likes the girl because she's so "refreshing" and "not like the girls he's used to." This usually annoys me because A) the refreshing thing about the girl is usually that she's just normal and B) it seems completely condescending.  But in The Distance Between Us, Caymen really did seem off-beat and different. She has a caustic sense of humor and doesn't hesitate to use it on Xander, which throws him completely off-balance. The book is laugh-out-loud funny at times, and the dynamic between the two of them was really sweet and endearing.

The only thing I didn't love about the book was the ending. I did love the fact that some real problems were thrown at the characters -- the difference in Caymen and Xander's lifestyles and expectations, the fact that the doll shop is in serious financial difficulty, and some mysterious secret involving Caymen's mother. All that gave the book more depth and weight and allowed the characters a chance to grow. But then the ending just magically and conveniently waved a magic wand and…. poof! You can read the ending and my thoughts about it under spoiler protection here.

But that small complaint aside, I really do recommend The Distance Between Us It's fun, it's funny, it's romantic, it's a standalone -- it's an enjoyable summer read that will really put a smile on your face.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Extra! Extra! 51

Extra! Extra!

Extra! Extra! is my weekend post featuring brand new additions to my TBR pile as well as a summary of what's new on the blog.

I'm linking to Stacking the Shelves @ Tynga's Reviews and to Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 

Giveaways!

Win Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey -- Freebie Friday is open for entries until Sunday at midnight!

If you haven't entered June's Hot Off the Presses giveaway, there's still time!

New Books!

Ashes on the Waves
by Mary Lindsey
Coming out June 21
Enter to win it above!

The Theory of Everything
by Kari Luna
Coming out July 11
My blogger friend Heather of the Flyleaf Review loved this one!


New from NetGalley:


Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
by Matthew Quick
Coming out August 13
Thanks to Little, Brown BFYR


Snarky Teen Reviewer is starting -- under protest: "It's summer!" -- to read this:


The 100
by Kass Morgan
Coming out September 3
from Little, Brown BFYR

I'm going to have to read it too if I'm going to get any kind of a review out of him. Okay, fine. Shhh…. don't tell him that it's going to be a show on CW, because he'll say that he'll just wait and watch the show….




What's new with you? Tell me in comments, and leave me a link so I can visit you back :)

Don't forget that Google Reader goes away in about a week!  Don't forget to follow me and all your favorite blogs some other way!

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, June 21, 2013

Freebie Friday 48: Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey


Happy Friday!

Today I have another great giveaway…


Ashes on the Waves
by Mary Lindsey
To be published on June 27, 2013
by Philomel


Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever. With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make a wager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed. 
Edgar Allan Poe? Annabel Lee? Wagers? Sexy Gothic romance?  Sign me up! I'm about to start reading this one and I'm so excited.  

If winner is a US resident, they will receive a finished copy of the book. I'll mail it when the contest ends on Monday, June 24 (or as soon as I receive their mailing address.)

International winner can choose any book up to $10 USD from The Book Depository. (US winner can choose this option instead if they wish.)

NO strings entry! Enter until Sunday, June 23 at midnight. Winner drawn Monday morning.

Have a great weekend :)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Branching Out: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld



Welcome to Branching Out, a new feature in which I'll occasionally read and review a non-YA book that I think will have appeal to fans of YA.

My Branching Out selection this time around is adult fiction:

Sisterland
by Curtis Sittenfeld
To be published by Random House
on June 25, 2013

Source: I received an e-ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss.



Summary (from Goodreads:) From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar “senses”—innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people’s secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.

Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their hometown of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that another, more devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. Equally troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister and to face truths about herself she’s long tried to deny.

Why I chose this book:  I enjoyed Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld's 2005 debut novel. With its teenaged narrator and coming of age themes, Prep is definitely a book that would appeal to adult readers of YA.  Sisterland also has some themes that are beloved by YA readers, namely the sister relationships and the paranormal twist of the sister's psychic abilities.

My take: Sisterland is a fascinating story about love, science, and the paranomal. Twins Daisy and Violet have drastically different comfort levels with their psychic abilities. Vi embraced her gifts and gained minor notoriety as a psychic. Daisy chose a more pedestrian path. Now known as Kate -- her middle name -- she married a scientist who regards his wife's confessions of past psychic visions with bemusement.

But when Vi publicly predicts that a devastating earthquake will strike and is swept into an ever-escalating media circus, Kate must come to terms with some difficult truths about herself, such as her experience helping Vi locate a kidnapped boy years before, and her deepest feelings about her psychic gifts. Is Vi a visionary or a dangerous, self-deluded charlatan? Was Kate right to try to suppress her psychic abilities, or in doing so is she denying an important part of herself?

The story intertwines domestic tensions -- Kate's husband's career ambitions and her frustrations as a stay-at-home mom, the contrast between Kate's conventional married life and Vi's sudden decision to date women -- with conflicts between science and intuition. Kate, Vi, and Kate's friend Hank, a stay-at-home dad, are in the artistic/intuitive camp, while Kate's husband and Hank's wife are rational scientists and colleagues. As Vi makes the morning talk show circuit, the scientists insist that Vi is absolutely, positively, even dangerously wrong. Tension rises as the predicted date of the earthquake draws near. While the story's climactic event was a bit melodramatic, it was also perfectly set up by everything that preceded it and forced most of the characters to confront their differing ideas about the limits of love, faith, and science.

Try it if you liked:


Please Ignore Vera Dietz Tumble & Fall Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King also did a masterful job of blending the ordinary and domestic with the mysterious and unexplained, as parts of the book are narrated by a dead character. And a pagoda. While PIVD fully embraces magical realism and Sisterland takes more of an evenhanded approach to the whole science vs. paranormal stand-off, both books feature wonderful writing and realistic family relationships

In a weird coincidence, I read another pre-apocalypic book, Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts, right before Sisterland. No twins in Tumble & Fall, but it also does look at the way people's lives and relationships are affected as disaster looms on the horizon.

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June, about a trio of sisters with paranormal abilities, is probably the most obvious YA comparison to Sisterland. It's more light in tone, but shares some of the same elements.

The Cahill Witch Chronicles (Born Wicked and Star Cursed) by Jessica Spotswood focuses more on the political implications of women with paranormal abilities, but the strained relationship between Maura and Cate did remind me a little of Daisy and Vi.

Have you read Prep or Sisterland? Or do you have any other paranormal sisters book recommendations?
 
Blog design by Imagination Designs